The goal of this program is to increase the number of qualified college graduates from diverse backgrounds who are capable of competing successfully for admission to Ph.D. level research programs in the biomedical, behavioral sciences or health services areas relevant to mental health. Participants will be undergraduate students who enter the training program in the summer following completion of the sophomore year. Academic and research training will be in the fields of biology, psychology, and the public health sciences in areas related to mental health. Some of the subdisciplines which will be covered in the program include neuropsychology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, health psychology, psychopharmacology, behavior genetics, health economics, social policy, epidemiology, biostatistics and physiological psychology, with a concentration on issues and problems in mental health. The training procedure will include formal instruction in lectures, seminars and laboratory settings. Oral and written presentations will be required in the lecture classes and some of the seminars. Research training will involve one on-campus summer experience, one off-campus summer experience, and a junior and senior year research project conducted under the guidance of a research supervisor funded by NIMH grants, or conducting research commensurate with the NIMH mission and objectives. The research projects will include a comprehensive oral and written report on the results of the research. Students who enter the program will have completed at least two full years of college work and will be majoring in the Natural, Mathematical, or Behavioral Sciences. The trainees must have expressed career goals in a research area relevant to mental health. Additional selection criteria are: 1) The student must have a 3.0 (out of 4.0) or better GPA overall;2) The student must have completed a minimum number of courses in their major field at the time of entry into the program;3) The student must submit a statement of intention to pursue an advanced degree in the designated fields and;4) The student must submit two letters of recommendation. A total of ten students will participate in each of the five years of the program.
In order to understand and appropriately address the mental health needs of our nation, individuals who conduct mental health research should represent the diversity of our population. This program will increase the diversity of the mental health workforce by exposing undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to relevant areas of research and providing them with the guidance and skills necessary to succeed in competitive doctoral programs.
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